Written by Bradley Bommarito
Last Friday, April 13, a group of students in RC’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) club spent the day in Charlottesville, Va. for the 2018 Tom Tom Founders Festival. Members attended several summit speeches and a panel event.
According to a press statement, Tom Tom’s signature event is a week-long festival of ideas and culture that takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia, each April in conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. This cross discipline, multi-venue experience transforms the historic downtown and empowers the innovators, who are envisioning a brighter future.
“The Tom Tom Festival was a fantastic experience, providing exposure to the facets of entrepreneurship spanning many industries. It was great to hear the stories of those who have personified the spirit of innovation,” said Luke Aprile, a CEO club member.
According to the Foundation’s website, “The Tom Tom Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival. Supporting high-impact events throughout the year, the Foundation seeks to empower the innovators whose creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to community help ensure a better future for cities across the nation.”
In total, about 44,925 attendees and 500 speakers participated in the event. Attendance at the festival has grown by 670% since 2012. Many of the speakers were entrepreneurs, but other guests included business executives, scholars, and even representatives of nonprofit organizations.
“It was an amazing experience getting to hear such successful business owners speak and getting to ask them questions,” said Cassidy Sullivan, treasurer of CEO club.
The event offered opportunities to look at entrepreneurship from different perspectives. It was also a forum in which best practices in business were explored in new contexts.
“This is definitely an event RC will have to go to again. The Tom Tom Festival offered so many learning experiences in much more than just business,” said Sullivan.
The Tom Tom Festival is a great place for both curious millennials and aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Getting to hear the success stories of fellow entrepreneurs is an empowering thing. It makes me want to get to work right then and there on the future business ideas I have floating around in my head,” said Nick Croswhite, president of CEO club.
The CEO club officer team has determined to return to the Tom Tom Festival next year. The event would be free and open to all RC students.
“We will have to make Tom Tom Festival the next great event for the club,” said Croswhite.